Can You Spot a Phishing Scam?
September 29, 2021
Every day, people fall victim to fraudulent emails, texts, and calls from scammers who impersonate others, such as bank employees.
With online banking usage at an all time high, recognizing phishing red flags is more important than ever. The Federal Trade Commission’s report on fraud estimates that American consumers lost a staggering $3.3 billion to phishing schemes and other fraud in 2020—that’s nearly double what was lost in 2019.
Fortunately, scams aren’t so scary when you know what to look for. At Heartland Bank, we’re committed to your financial protection, and that starts with teaching you how to spot these scams. That’s why we’ve teamed up with the American Bankers Association in the fight against phishing with #BanksNeverAskThat.
We want every bank customer to become a pro at spotting a phishing scam—and stop bank impostors in their tracks. It starts with these four words: Banks Never Ask That.
- Text Message: If you receive a text message from someone claiming to be a bank employee and you are being asked to sign in to your account, offer up your personal information, or anything else that seems suspicious, it’s a scam. Banks never ask that.
- Email: Watch out for emails that ask you to click a suspicious link or provide personal information. The sender may claim to be a bank employee, but it’s a scam. Banks never ask that.
- Phone Call: Would your bank ever call you to verify your account number. No! Banks never ask that. If you’re ever in doubt that the caller is legitimate, just hang up and contact us directly.
You’ve probably seen some of these scams before. But that doesn’t stop a scammer from trying. For more tips on how to keep phishing criminals at bay, including videos, an interactive quiz and more, visit www.BanksNeverAskThat.com.
If you receive a suspicious email or text:
- Do not download any attachments in the message. Attachments may contain malware such as viruses, worms or spyware.
- Do not click links that appear in the message. Links in phishing messages direct you to fraudulent websites.
- Do not reply to the sender. Ignore any requests from the sender and do not call any phone numbers provided in the message.
- Report it. Help fight scammers by reporting them. Forward suspected phishing emails to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you got a phishing text message, forward it to SPAM (7726). Then, report the phishing attack to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
If you receive a suspicious phone call:
- If you receive a phone call that seems to be a phishing attempt, immediately end the call. Be aware that area codes can be misleading. If your Caller ID displays a local area code, this does not guarantee that the caller is local.
- Do not respond to the caller’s requests. Financial institutions and legitimate companies will never call you to request your personal information. Never give personal information to the incoming caller.
If you feel you’ve been the victim of a scam and may have provided personal or important financial information, contact our Customer Care Center immediately at 888-897-2276. Be sure to provide our team with any relevant details, such as whether the suspicious caller attempted to impersonate a bank employee and whether any personal or financial information was provided to the suspicious caller.
This content is for informational purposes only. Readers should under no circumstances rely upon this information as a substitute for their own research or for obtaining specific advice from their own counsel.